Coat and pants, RYAN CHRIS; buttondown shirt, PAT SANTOS; shoes, PRADA
Some movements in the universe simply make lasting changes.
A revolution in astronomy takes its sweet time but it’s a scenic route for the planet to collect 365 days for moments of epiphanies, reveries, and collective events that change the course of its history. There are years of questions and years when we come across the answers – this 2022, Ruru Madrid is unwrapping the latter. Fresh from the success of the top-rated primetime show, Lolong, Ruru is rocketing onwards, refueled with even much more grit, passion, and motivation.
Designer: Abdul Gaffar; shoes: Dior Homme
If you’re among the estimated nearly 13 million viewers of Lolong, you would understand the anticipation that follows a cliffhanger and letting your imagination run wild during commercials.But maybe few of us know that the Kapuso Action-Drama Prince has also been once part of commercials that keep us entertained before our favorite Kapuso shows resume after a commercial break.
Joining as an ekstra or bitplayer for one of Marian Rivera’s commercials from when he was even barely a teenager, it was among his first few appearances in front of the camera. Working as a bitplayer before he became the leading man we know him as today, Ruru knows more than a thing or two about working his way up and taking the long road towards success.
“Lagi akong nag-au-audition sa maraming mga shows pero hindi ako laging nakukuha. Lagi akong narereject. Pero ‘di rin naman dun nag-stop ‘yung pangarap ko,” the Kapuso actor shares candidly. He even recalls a time when he and his father rode a borrowed motorcycle – matched with the use of borrowed helmets – all the way from Marikina to Makati just so he could make it to an audition. Occasionally encountering rain while on the road, it wasn’t uncommon that he would already appear disheveled before he even got to the audition. “‘Yun ‘yung moment na […] talagang pray lang ako nang pray […] na sana makuha ako,” Ruru continues.
Designer: Pat Santos; Abdul Gaffar
Keeping his dream alive and without giving up, he eventually gets a chance to join – and even eventually emerge as a runner-up at – GMA’s 2011 talent search Protégé. But little did Ruru know that even as a victor, there’s still much work to be done. “Sa loob ng Protégé, sobrang grabe ang competition,” he remarks. But he also shares that he was in for a realization when showbiz turned out to be an even larger arena than the contest he joined. Even then, Ruru isn’t out to compete with anyone. “Sabi ko sa sarili ko, I’d rather compete with myself so that every single day may bago akong napapakita at nagiimprove ako.”
And this work ethic has paid off as he later became a leading man to watch out for when he stepped into the shoes of Ybarro in the popular television remake of GMA’s Encantadia – a role originally played by Kapuso Primetime King Dingdong Dantes. This breakthrough led to several work opportunities for Ruru, cementing his name as one of GMA network’s reliable actors.
But despite what seemed to be a successful chain of positive events, internally, Ruru was face-to-face with an internal crisis. With continuous tapings and the realization that he has finally made it in his career, the temptation for success to get to his head was easy to sneak in.” …Na-take for granted ko siya,” he admits, honest to share about a lesson he learned the hard way. “And then after that, I realized na not all people mabibigyan ng pagkakataon para magkaroon ng project na katulad nito kaya [I ask myself] ‘bakit ko ‘yun sinayang’?”
Designer: Abdul Gaffar
He shares that the young actor who started out in showbiz was different from the Ruru he was trying to understand in the mirror during the times that he was battling a conflict with himself. He explains, “Kasi ‘di naman ako ganun dati nung pumasok ako sa show business. Parang punong-puno ako ng hunger, ng dedication, [at] pagmamahal sa ginagawa ko.”
After Encantadia, his career faced a figurative wall. Projects didn’t seem to be pushing through anymore, he was trying to go beyond his limits but something still felt amiss. Suddenly, it didn’t feel like he was at the top of his career. Even Lolong didn’t feel like it might take off at the start. Shooting at the height of the pandemic, Ruru recalls how uncertain it felt.
“It was very challenging for all of us,” he begins. “…kasi isa lang magpositive mapapackup na ‘yung taping namin. And then hindi lang isang beses na may nagpositive sa amin kaya ilang beses kaming nakacancel.” With their schedules being affected by weather – and at times even sustaining injury – he reached a point when he questioned if the show would be going anywhere. “…Iniisip ko bakit hindi pa kami umeere? Bakit hindi kami matuloy-tuloy? Malas ba ako? May malas ba ‘yung show? Or talagang hindi lang ako deserving para dito?” Ruru mentions out loud the questions he once thought about.
Desginer: Pat Santos
But fast forward to another career milestone, Lolong has not just been a successful show with a total of 65 episodes, it will also be getting its second season. And seeing the success of Lolong lets something click for Ruru: “Itong blessing na ito hindi namin siya ittake for granted because we know kung gaano kahirap bago namin narating ito.”
He says that the Lolong team felt like family – whether it’s with his co-actors, staff, crew, directors, prod, utility, makeup artists, stunt team and everybody involved. “Kahit na lahat kami [malapit] na sumuko…walang bumitaw. And ‘yun ‘yung pinaka-pinagpapasalamat ko sa lahat. Kasi kung isa man dun bumitaw? For sure, pati ako susuko na.”
It took a team to have the successful run of Lolong’s first season and Ruru is full of words of appreciation for how much it has changed his life. “Ang sarap sa pakiramdam…lalo na [noong] ginawa ko [‘yung] Lolong,” he recalls. “Sa mga mall shows, [marami sa mga] nagpupunta dun puro bata. And minsan tinatanong ko sila bakit niyo idol si Lolong or bakit niyo idol si Kuya Ruru? Sinasabi nila kasi nakikita nila ‘yung pagmamahal ni Lolong sa pamilya niya. Nakikita nila na pinaglalaban ni Lolong ‘yung mga naaapi. ‘Yung mga tao na nahihirapan o tinatapak-tapakan.”
Desginer: Pat Santos
At that point, Ruru realizes the purpose that his influence serves is much bigger than himself.
“Ang sarap sa pakiramdam na meron akong ginagawang proyekto na nakakapagbigay ng inspirasyon sa kabataan. Ano mang role ‘yung gagawin ko, sabi ko sa sarili ko, gusto ko na kahit papano na may nabibigay akong inspirasyon sa kanila…[na] meron akong maiambag sa mga tao, sa mga manunuod, lalo na sa mga kabataan.”
Good things come to those who wait – but even better, good things stay for those who appreciate what’s in their hands. Both have become true for Ruru. What started out as a young man aiming to be a celebrity now becomes a man who dreams of being a celebrity for others. An actor who isn’t just playing a role, rather, a role model that the youth can look up to.
With a character arc that we’ll be rooting for – whether it’s Lolong’s or Ruru’s as himself that we’ll be seeing on our televisions – we know that it’s a comeback story that reminds us of gratitude and hope.
Designer: Abdul Gaffar
Photographed by Von Buenconsejo
Assisted by Jay Velasco , Jv Benito Villegas and Vhest Abellera
Styled and produced by Janno Styles
Creative Direction Robin Johne
Styling Associate Bianca Elise
Hair Arthur Tolentino
Grooming Raffy Francisco
Story by Danielle Arcon
Shot on Location B Hotel QC